Lady Hornets earn playoff berth

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2014

POPLARVILLE — Poplarville secured a playoff spot in the Class 4A South State fast-pitch softball playoffs in exciting fashion Thursday night.

The homestanding Lady Hornets rallied form a 4-2 deficit against Vancleave to pull out a 5-4 win in eight innings in Region 8-4A play.

The victory moves Poplarville to an impressive 16-1-1 overall, but more importantly 7-0 in league action. The Lady Hornets can wrap up the top seed in the league, as well as a district title and a first round playoff bye, with a win on the road against Moss Point today.

“It was a huge win for us,” veteran Poplarville head coach Jonathan Ray said. “Our girls never gave up, even though I am pretty sure I accused them of that at one point. I wasn’t happy with how we played during most of the game, and I told them that. But They came back and proved me wrong, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Poplarville took an early 1-0 lead, only to see the Lady Bulldogs rally and take a 2-1 lead in the sixth stanza. The Lady Hornets tied the game up in the bottom of the seventh, as Tristan Wheat singled and came around to score on a throwing error.

Vancleave then scored a pair of runs in the top of the extra inning, taking a 4-2 lead. Poplarville then recorded two quick outs in the bottom of the frame, and the Lady Hornets were on the ropes.

But with two outs, Maryah Davis had a bunt single that Camryn Pierce eventually scored on after a Lady Bulldog throwing error. Branda Northrop followed with a bunt single, and with two strikes on her Kaley Lambert was hit by a pitch to drive in a run with the bases loaded and tie the game up.

After Wheat was walked intentionally to re-load the bases, Kaitlyn Clark, again with two strikes on her, slashed a pitch to the left center field gap to score Northrop and win the game.

Northrop picked up the pitching win.

“We’re a different team this year, and we are having to win in different ways,” Ray added. “They have found a way every day to get it done. The girls have really stepped up.”

Poplarville actually just needs one more win in its final three league games to clinch the league crown. The Lady Hornets face Bay High and Pass Christian next week, but the first chance to seal the deal is against Moss Point today. Poplarville beat Moss Point 10-9 Monday night at home.